In November 2002, a Houston icon was unceremoniously escorted off the radiowaves. KIKK 95.7-FM had been a country & western musical treasure for more than a quarter of a century. As the station left the airwaves, it was replaced by an upstart of sorts, KHJZ 95.7-FM, otherwise known as "The Wave." The transition did not sit well with die-hard KIKK listeners, especially after they realized what the new format would be, "Smooth Jazz." A sonic boom reaching meteoric heights shook the very foundation of what 95.7 The Wave was attempting to accomplish.
Now that the dust has settled, KHJZ FM finds itself in a rather unique position. The station has moved from the #11 position in the radio rankings to the #4 spot in the 34-54 age group. All of this has been done in less than a year, a feat unprecedented in the annals of radio lore. Much of this can be attributed to hard work, strong on-air personnel, quality music that listeners want to hear and Maxine Todd, the station's Program Director.
In a mere 10 months, 95.7 FM has established itself as a solid radio presence in Houston. During that time, Maxine and her crew of merry men and women have implemented a viable marketing strategy. This has included sponsoring a number of club related opportunities, smooth jazz concerts, youth-oriented educational activities and The 13th Annual Houston International Jazz Festival. Another successful event has been "The 95.7 After Work Escape" with local guitarist Joe Carmouche at Scott Gertner's Skybar, a Houston night spot. Combined, all of these activities have not only served KHJZ 95.7-FM well, the jazz public has also benefited. For the most part, commercial jazz radio in Houston has been missing in action for more than six years. The mere fact that KHJZ 95.7-FM has been getting stronger by the day is significant.
The phenomenal success of 95.7 FM is a much needed boost to the enjoyment of contemporary/smooth jazz aficionados. Many of them have believed commercial jazz radio was dead in the 4th largest city in the United States, but the station appears to have proved the critics and naysayers wrong. Maxine Todd sums up all their success in a few simple words: "This is only the beginning, there is much more to come. Just hang around and listen."